Analysis

Pacific’s importance for Australian security

By Joanne Wallis* It is common for Australian politicians, policymakers and commentators to talk about security in the Asia-Pacific region, but what they are really referring to is Asia. However, if we are to strengthen Australia’s security, we can’t forget the Pacific in the Asia-Pacific. The Pacific Islands lie across some of Australia’s most important strategic approaches. Reflecting this, Australia has long been anxious about its proximity to the Pacific Islands, the region’s vulnerability to penetration by potentially hostile powers and its distance from its major security allies: first the UK, later the US. Accordingly, Australian defence planners have articulated two primary strategic interests in the Pacific Islands: first, to ensure that no power hostile to Western interests establishes a strategic foothold in the region from which it could launch attacks on Australia or threaten allied access or its maritime approaches. Second, to ensure ‘security, stability and cohesion’ in the…

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India’s primacy in the Indian Ocean?

India’s primacy in the Indian Ocean?

By Pranaav Gupta*
The Indian Ocean Region is one of the key foreign policy priorities of the present Indian Government.
India has the capacity to undertake the role of a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region.
The growing presence of China in the Indian Ocean Region is viewed with suspicion in India, which has sought to build a collective security framework with other Indian Ocean littoral states.
India, Australia and the United States can play an important role by co-operating more closely in maintaining a rules-based order in the Indian Ocean Region.

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Lethal navy crucial to deter attackers: CN

By Brendan Nicholson* Navy Chief Tim Barrett has warned that Australia’s new surface warship and submarine force must be powerful enough to strike blows to deter a distant enemy from attacking Australia. In his address to ASPI’s annual White Ensign Dinner, Vice Admiral Barrett said that by 2025, it is expected that almost half of the world’s economic output will come from the Asia–Pacific region. It lies at the centre of the massive economic trading artery running from the Middle East, across the Indian Ocean, through the South China Sea, past Japan and on to North America. Four of the world’s top defence spenders—the United States, China, Russia and India—are active in the region, Barrett said. ‘Many of the global challenges will increasingly be played out in our region.’ The navy chief said traditional challenges like state-on-state coercion and competition are on the rise and non-traditional threats are making their…

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Ballistic missile defence: options for Australia

Ballistic missile defence: options for Australia

Kim Jong-un has set North Korea on the path to establishing a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capability. We don’t know how much further the international community will push, and how the North Koreans will respond. But Kim Jong-un’s actions remind us that state-on-state conflict can still happen, and at short notice. What realistic options does Australia have in response? Key areas worth considering involve space, land and sea.

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UK contemplates Navy downsize

UK contemplates Navy downsize

In the past few days, (oct, 2017) the British press and social media have been rife with reports that the Royal Marines are to be reduced by 1000 from their present establishment of 6500. In addition, the amphibious fleet may be similarly reduced with the decommissioning of the landing platform dock (LPD) that is the core of the British ready capability and the possible disposal of both that ship and a sister unit held in reserve. This scheme is one option being considered as part of a ‘mini defence review’ underway in the UK.

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To rule the (air) waves

To rule the (air) waves

By Tim McGeehan and Douglas Wahl*

A new domain of conflict emerges as America transitions onto a wartime footing. Military, commercial, and private interests debate how to balance security, privacy, and utility for new technology that unleashes the free-flow of information. The President issues Executive Orders to seize and defend the associated critical infrastructure for exclusive government use for the duration of the conflict.

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Year of big US-Australian anniversaries

Year of big US-Australian anniversaries

By Kim Beazley*
This is the year of significant anniversaries marking the Australia–US relationship. In May we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the battle of the Coral Sea and more recently the 50th birthday of the joint facilities, led by Pine Gap, which the late Des Ball aptly described as the ‘strategic essence’ of the American alliance. Last month Defence Minister Marise Payne gave a shout-out for the 50th anniversary of the first of the joint facilities, the North West Cape Naval Communication Station, named for the late Harold E. Holt, one-time Australian prime minister.

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Australia need not choose between China and US

By Andrew Carr* If Australian politicians are certain about one thing regarding the future, it’s that ‘we do not have to choose’ between the US and China. This panglossian optimism is easily mocked, though a small industry of scholars has devoted itself to deciphering whether Australia has already chosen, or whether a series of ‘mini-China choices’ rather than one big decision is a better way to view it.

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‘Plan B needed’ for submarine project

By Andrew Davies* My previous post on the future submarines talked about having a Plan B in case the project runs into insurmountable problems. In his response, Jon Stanford seconded the need for an insurance policy. So on that we are agreed—but we differ markedly on what it should look like. Jon reiterated the case for a modified military-off-the-shelf (MMOTS) solution, as found in the recent Insight Economics report (PDF). If I thought that was possible, I might even sign up to it. But a modified design isn’t ‘military off the shelf’, and the changes required to extend the range and endurance of a submarine engineered with a delicate balance of weight and volume aren’t likely to be easy. (Recall Gumley’s Law that MOTS + MOTS ≠ MOTS.) So MMOTS isn’t low risk, which is what we want in insurance for a risky project. Delivery of even genuinely MOTS submarines…

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